While living in Barcelona and driving back home to Croatia, I used to cross France two times a month. I have to admit my experiences were rather negative.
People not able to communicate with me, irritate me, considering I speak, write and read 5 languages. How much easier could I make it for you?
I could learn French?
Yes, I could, I learn languages with ease. I just refuse to learn French. I prefer to learn Swahili.
What really makes me angry is not the fact that a Croatian five-year-old knows more English words then a french waiter in a touristic bar in the middle of Paris, but the fact the waiter is looking at me blankly, without even trying to gesticulate and be understood.
So, in France, I speak exclusively Croatian and have fun looking at their annoyed faces because they know I'm doing the same thing they're doing to millions of tourists: blabbing in an incomprehensible language.
Tell me if I exaggerate:
- In Paris, in a bar, all the French were served before I was, even if they came after. When the waiter finally came, I said, “Bonjour. Café au lait, s'il vous plaît", with a decent French accent. She corrected me with disdain and pronounced au lait in a slightly different way. Nice start.
- Buying the tickets for the Eiffel tower: A guy next to me in the line asked me if I was cold while he was buying his ticket to the top and then stepped on the side.
It was my turn: “One to the top too, please"
Cold, unpolite: “Zptptpt".
She turned her head away and talked to her college, while I was wondering what the hell she said and what's there to say when someone wants to buy a ticket! The Eiffel tower is closed? Wait, I want to chit chat with my college? I waited.
She looked at me, angry, like, you're still here?!
“One to the top, please!"
What the hell?! The guy was still there, looking confused and we realized she charged him two tickets.
“But we are not together!"
She refused to give him back the money for my ticket. We had to go up to the Eiffel tower, I had to buy a coffee, to get the change back, so I could pay him for my ticket. Stupid bitch!
- In Saint Tropez, I showed a biscuit on the bar,
“Is it sweet?" Silence, she wasn't even trying, she wasn't even blinking, just starring.
“Es dulce?" Not a blink.
“E dolce?" Zero.
“Ist es süß?" A stone.
“Do you speak English?" No!
“Español? Italiano? Deutch?… Croatian?" No!
“Idiota Francesa! Esto lo entiendes?"
I left without buying anything.
And many, many similar examples!
A. never visited France, but his opinion, influenced by my opinion, didn't get any better in Switzerland.
During a ten-day vacation, only one day we entered the French part and there, in the middle of Geneva we had a horrible conflict with a horrible french waiter.
After 10 minutes we were already in the German canton and never left it again.
“I do. Incredible!"
Gucci and Whisky in Geneva
Whisky on Lado di Como, waiting for George Clooney
When talking to an Italian friend about how wonderful the Italians were to us all over Italy when we traveled with dogs, she told us:
“Well, then, you HAVE to visit France! They are incredible with dogs!”
Hmmm, A. was looking at me from the corner of his eye:
“I don't think that will happen, she's not a fan…”
When we heard the same story, again and again, I asked:
“Should I give them a last chance?”
“Ok, but go with an open mind! Don't expect them to treat you awful, give them a chance!”
I'm happy I did. You can treat me like crap, but if you treat my dog nicely, I'll forgive and forget anything else.
On the ferry
Dogs are supposed to sleep outside, on the roof, in cages.
As if! Why don’t you go and sleep in a cage!?
Which means: stroller, covered in “ssssshhhh, the baby is sleeping” mode.
During the two days, no one even noticed we had doggies there.
I don’t even think they care. For as long as the dog doesn’t bark and your neighbors don’t whimper to the stuff, no one asks if the always covered baby is still alive.
We went by our car and crossed the Atlantic ocean from Gran Canaria to Huelva by ferry